Dear (A Letter)

Credits to Anachrony

Dear,

I can’t say that this world, and this letter, would mean something, something more than love, but inevitably, my mind had conjured up such disturbed thoughts I think I need to share with you, and only you. I’d felt heartbreak, my dear, for quite some time; many times. Each time was different, although it was inevitably the same. As I wandered through my playlist, knowing that the words of my everyday music could not soothe me the same way, I looked up some of my favourite piano instrumentals. You knew the type. The one’s that I had indeed professed my heart to. I had no soul, was the term, quite apropos to the thought, more of memory. Befitting… I had none I believed, but I was sure I had a heart, kept somewhere within the depths of my mind’s perception. Of course those beats that plunged my chest into the physical realm are not what I had meant. I intended for something ineffably more. It was somewhere in my mind, and I knew my brain had something to do with these, these, pieces of shit that couldn’t have brought about more trouble than a generation of criminals. I’d changed my playlist, anyway, since then, and listening once more to those songs. It brings me back to the visage of elysian fields. It just brought about the trouble that is this letter. Fuck, my dear. Just, fuck.

My brain did its job and so rose the heart; emerging from the depths of my mind, like a snake to an Indian flute. It popped up, peeking. Peering if there was anything that sought to cause it harm, and when someone played my flute, it would always respond in the same way. The same fearless and trusting way, as if only the true piper could play that song. I knew how to play it, of course; I own the snake, the flute, the basket, and the tune, heck even the field that was my body. I still do. I could play it well, and bring about my heart to slither into my fingers, releasing the venom in the form of ink. Every time however, when another person played, my snake would be hacked at, not by the pied piper, but by the onlooker who saw my snake as a worldwide liability. The venom was the source of the illness, and most never understood that the venom itself was also the cure. Fucking idiots… It wasn’t that hard anyway, to think of. It wasn’t hard to imagine. That was, of course, in theory, but my statement was what I’d only wanted to believe. Every time, of course, it was not… No. It was never the onlooker but it was the piper who sliced. The piper did slice away at my venomous love snake, and each time, the piper was told to do so by an outward force. It was as if god himself, if ever he even existed, had commanded this horde of flute-players to my mental basket, and each time, the order was to trick it out and hack away. It was a demeaning thought, but as I’d said, my dear, I’d felt this heartbreak a million times, and a million times I shall feel it over, until that one piper defies god and takes pity on my battered snake. I can’t say god damn, I can only say, damn god.

Going back to the music, dear, those fragile pieces and tid-bits of music so inspiring and difficult, yet so lightly played by those who had composed it. Fucking esoteric bastards, they were. I recall those times, happier times, when such songs I could treat as water, simply changing figure with each new container. Each new instrument held the music as if water in a glass so translucent. It was guaranteed that it was trouble, but, again, a common misconception. It was not the music that was troubled, it was the listener. It was the listener, so affected by the sound, that it rallied emotions to its apparent worthy cause, thereby giving the physical body a little more than enough to work with. The body indefinitely gave consent. How couldn’t it? IT WAS the brain, after all, who assumed the transparency of the fluid from that translucent glass. I just couldn’t see that yet, dear. I was content with the joy I found in portraying the music in the way that pleased me. Words… Never-the-fucking-less, it was a happier time during the course of my life. It was all too pleasing, and shit, I’ll be damned if you, of all people, do not understand this. Meh. Those composers knew not what they were capable of, or they simply didn’t show they knew. Either way, their actions could have been summed up in one word; apathy. Selfish in their ways, they compose to their heart’s delight. They had venom, too, and they used it to their advantage. Only theirs, and theirs to own; those audible drugs were medicine for their souls. Those drugs were just street drugs to others, pleasingly poisonous. The paradox that is their venom existed for themselves, but shared with others wore a different effect. Would they care about those who heard the music? Would they care about the bums in the street? Would they care about the rich, living splendidly in lavish homes? Would they care about you? Me? US?!

That’s the point, isn’t it; us? You, me, and nothing else, my dear, would have mattered if not for the music. Oh, and forgive my streetwise grammar. I’m a dumb fuck who writes to you from a vacant space, lost without thought of time or purpose. Remember that time when we had gone to the docks and you dared me to jump into the waters because I described it so poetically? I fell into the waters not for you, but for me. Like a snake, and any other godforsaken animal on this planet, I need to feed. Forgive me for my latent confession, but I had fed off you. I’d fed off your life, being, purpose, soul (if you, or even all of us, had one), your eyes, lips, tongue, body, your joys, sorrows, horrors, and basically, your existence. It had given me my venom, protecting me from my own snakebite, embedded as a scar on my scales. I’m no zoologist, so whatever. I’m no swimmer, either, so you had to drag me out to shore. Me being the strong one, and you being, you, should have switched places, and like a comical movie from the 1930’s, we never switched places. I was mad, for a while, but how could I bite the hand that fed me? You played for me as I lay on your couch that night, wrapped in one of your towels. Your fingers, ever so wonderful, depressed themselves on the air holes, changing the note with such fervour, echoing your voice with each breath. It was the music. Nothing else would have fucking mattered if not for the damned music.

You played your song, and it called more than one snake. He came to the charm, like a spell-induced, drug abused, animal. Ravenous, poisoned, bewitched, he was slender yet firm. He had the fresh venom, but he was a python, more common worldwide, and I was, like those fucking composers, a bullshit king cobra. He was taller when he rose, but I could have easily outreached him if you had learned the right notes to my song. Almost undoubtedly the same with mine, your song was wonderful, and I’d rose, knowing that there was something familiar about the song, but it was not exact. It was not precise enough to bring about my whole. It was just that there was nothing perfect, especially if there was no god. If there was, your song would be his, resonating within each snake you meet, moreover with one as young and naive as he who had responded to your song’s call of duty. Just more commonly uncommon, though. Motherfucking-fuck, these-these, goddamned oxymorons. I’m intensely sorry, my dear. The music precedes my sense of decency and I didn’t intend to force you to turn an eye awry (though I can be sure you didn’t knowing you’d spent many a night with me like this).

Well, that’s what this damned letter is about, no? I’m sorry. My dear, I truly am. I’m just a snake, and well, there’s nothing else I can do about it. You did do something, however. You changed me more than you really do know, and I’m sorry that it was hard. I’m sorry that I took so long to contact you. I’m sorry that it took all these years. I’m sorry it felt like an eternity, waiting for something like the music, to force me to let you know that I am still alive. I’m sorry I made you suffer through the agony of the wait. I read the newspaper of our old place every day. I had a copy sent over to where I now stay, that I may read about the weddings, obituaries, and whatever information I could find on you. I called our shared friend every month, still do, actually. Tells me you’ve stopped playing the flute, and I ponder on asking why, hoping for a reply that might never come, even if I’d wanted it to. I won’t say who the friend is, because I know that with just a tiny piece of information, you will know my whereabouts (and that you might kill him/her in the process of finding out). I’m actually writing this from the view of my desolate hotel room somewhere in Asia. I figured it was a perfect place, time, setting, and song for me to write to you. And I’ll be damned, because this is too fucking coincidental to discredit some supernatural force out there. You’ll never know where I really live, or at least I won’t let you. To the best of my ability, I won’t. I wish you the best in life and in love. I wish that you’d play the flute again, at least for some special people in your life, be they your children, parents, husband, or whatnot. With much pain, sorrow, emptiness, and a world of regret, I’m sorry. Take good care, now, you hear, my dear? Take care of those two; Jane and James. I know you named one after me. Thanks for that, but they’ll probably never know where you got the name anyway. I know you won’t say. They deserve that song of yours, though. They deserve it more than I do. I just have one more thing to say, though, before I leave. Forgive me, but it goes a little like this:

He came knocking at your door that night, and who was I to know what you’d done, much less, why?

 

I will always have you in my heart,

Sarah-Jane Nothdruft

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THE CLASSICS AT HOME: EFFICIENCY OF THE M4/M16 AGAINST THAT OF THE AK-47 IN THE PHILIPPINE SETTING (PART 2)

War is Normal:

Another question that many people ask when it comes to this topic is “Why do we have to have wars?” or “Why do wars even exist?” maybe even “What is the purpose of war?” Many people have questioned the value of war, and why it exists within the human system. The answer to that is simple; “WAR IS NORMAL.” As a great philosopher Heraclitus once said;
“War is the father of all,”

War has been around since the dawn of time and it is in human nature to be in constant conflict, be it with his surroundings, with others similar to him, or even himself. It has shaped the thought and ideas of many thinkers, dating back to Aristotle, Kant, Darwin, Marx, and all the way to Freud based on “A Terrible Love of War” by James Hillman (2004).

All throughout history, what have been recorded, other than the times of war? There may be some cases wherein history focused on the “better” things in life, such as music, arts, literature, events, achievements, and etc but, where do history books focus on? Where do the history professors focus on, when it comes to learning about one’s country, and its origins? Majority of them point directly towards warfare, and human conflict. Here are some examples of these history books and other references in our literature that war is very normal; Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ (A Revered Classical Play), Sun Tsu’s ‘The Art of War’ (A Novel), William Blake’s ‘The Tyger’ (A Poem), and Miguel Hernandez’ ‘Viento Del Pueblo’ (A Poem). As a species that needs knowledge, and has a very iron-hard clasp on the need to find a reason why things work, humans have learned via trial and error. Normally, this process leads to conflict among results or even among the process of achieving the results, often times the idea of what the results may be. After all, “To err is but human.” Take the U.S.A. for example; they have joined in almost every major conflict the world has been in; i.e. World War 1, World War 2, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Cold War, The Gulf War, and The Iraq War. Aside from armament being one of their main products (As you can see, warfare is very normal, so much in fact, that it has become a business), warfare is no big surprise to anyone who has observed history books intently and ultimately seen the pattern.

Flash backward to the Vietnam War, this, being the closest major conflict reference that involved terrain, similar to that of the Philippines. This was the “only war America lost” and it was lost at the hands of untrained North Vietnamese guerrilla ‘soldiers’ armed with AK-47s. America at that time already had the technological advantage with their Napalm bombs, the Helicopter, the M16, M79 grenade launchers, and .60 calibre portable machine guns (Hogg [1984] & Myatt [1987]). Although the knowledge of the terrain played a big factor, the American technologies were supposed to be capable of overcoming this, especially since they also had the help of the South Vietnamese. However, America had still lost that war, though statistically, they had gained since the South Vietnamese were armed with M16’s, and who else was there to supply that weapon to them, but the Americans.

Flash forward to modern times. Majority of the world uses the M4 and several other forces use variants of the weapon, and its family. Majority of the world has at least a city with roads and the Philippines is quickly filling up with cities. If there were a war, it would likely be staged within the cities. Ranges of up to 300 metres would be lowered. The idea is to mimic the Russians back during World War 2, seeing as how ranges would be close; the immediate accuracy would be a little less important than the firepower. As Clint Smith says in his review (Guns Magazine July 2004);
“… [D]ealing with these behind-cover-bad-guys often calls for a gun with a bit more punch than the .223 provides.”

Here he mentions the M4, a .223 calibre carbine and the limitations of its capabilities. Since, in these modern times, majority of the wars are either held in city outskirts and cities themselves, when the target is behind cover, or is hiding behind a certain structure, the .223 cartridge would not be enough to eliminate it. Therefore, if we were to use a firearm of a higher calibre, though functions in similar ways with the M4, having automatic fire, and being shorter than the average rifle, it would be better. Such is the functionality of the AK-47. Although the M14 uses a similarly sized cartridge, the rate of fire would be the limitations. Being only semi-automatic, the M14 would not prove to be an ideal weapon in close range combat. It would be of better use at distance shooting. Sub-machine guns on the other hand use pistol cartridges, which are even weaker than that of the .223 of the M4 carbine. The only alternative would be to use a larger calibre, such as the LWRC PSD, which uses a 6.8mm cartridge, and has the exact same functionality as that of the M4. Aside from that, the LWRC PSD also retains the shape of the M4 granting the user a common feel for the gun, since the current standard issues for a lot of countries is still the M4. Though the prices may be steep, the firearm is likely to be worth the packing punch in the common modern combat scenarios (Based on Discovery Channel’s Future Weapons). Although this (PSD) is a possible firearm that may be used, not many rifles, including this one, can compete with the overall low priced, great efficiency of the AK-47.

* This was a paper I made for school. Please be kind.
** This work spans 25 pages, and could be published as a book, so please again, don’t plagiarize.
*** Enjoy!

THE CLASSICS AT HOME: EFFICIENCY OF THE M4/M16 AGAINST THAT OF THE AK-47 IN THE PHILIPPINE SETTING (PART 1)

Thesis Statement: The current standard issue firearm of the Philippines, the M4, should be replaced by a more suitable firearm, such as the AK-47 because of its capabilities when it comes to use and the country’s terrain.

The Naming of Parts:

The foremost question of this topic is basically; “What is a gun?” Many so called ‘experts’ claim that the firearm is simply an evolved form of a crossbow. Granted that it is a weapon that has a similar way of use and a similar way of eliminating the opponent or striking a certain target, the mechanics of how a firearm works is completely different. With the crossbow, the simple kinetic energy released by the ‘bow’ part of the weapon, which includes the string, and the bow itself, is the force that projects the propellant, which, in this case is an arrow. The arrow then glides a certain distance at a certain speed, depending on the length of the bow and the force with which is pulled, which directly affects the outcome. In the case of the crossbow, the force with which the bow is pulled is at a constant distance, therefore eliminating the variable of the pull of the force, leaving the length of the bow as the main variable that influences the arrows distance and speed. The bow, also, however remains constant as it doesn’t change in its standard length. With the firearm, the way the machine works is very different. The firearm, as defined by Ian Hogg (1984) in his book ‘Guns and How They Work’ is as follows;

“A gun consists basically of a tube closed at one end, inside which an explosion takes place in order to eject a missile. The tube is called the barrel; the down the middle of the barrel is the bore, the closed end the breech end, and the open end the muzzle. The missile discharged by the gun is broadly called a projectile, though in small arms-which are weapons whose bore is less than 15mm in diameter, the projectile is usually called the bullet. The bullet is ejected from the gun by the explosion of a propelling charge, which may be of gunpowder or smokeless powder, and the complete combination of all the requisites to fire one charge from the gun-bullet, propelling charge and means of ignition-are collectively referred to as a cartridge or round. If the cartridge is inserted into the gun from the muzzle end, then the gun is a muzzle loader, while if it is possible to open the breech in some way and insert the cartridge from that and, then the gun is a breech-loader.”

A firearm is, in simple terms, basically a half-closed tube wherein the combustion of gunpowder (placed inside the tube at the closed end) provides an explosion, whose force propels a projectile (placed in through the open end tube after placing the gunpowder) towards a specific target.

The next question usually asked would be “Where did the idea of the firearm or the firearm itself come from?” There is no specific answer as to where or even when the firearm, or as known by most people, ‘gun’ originated. Common people who have an idea about firearms would say that it was crated somewhere around the 1700’s, or if not the 1600’s. This of course, is a fallacy since multiple records have dated the concept and the very first firearms roughly around the fourteenth century. An article by Walter de Millimete called “De Officiis Regnum” for young King Edward III, sent in 1325, referred to an image of a firearm and its description. The image was labelled as a pot-de-fer, which translates into “iron pot” from French, and “pot” or “vase” in Italian. Simple enough, it functions as a firearm does, with the gunpowder placed inside at the closed end, followed by the projectile. Although the description was not entirely the part focused on, this is claimed to be a universally accepted source. This, (particularly the image) proves the existence of such devices of weaponry within the medieval period, thus making the claims of its birth in the 1700’s a false one. However, de Millimete was not credited for the invention of the gun.

The invention of the firearm, though, would not be possible without first coming across the invention of gunpowder. Claims have read that the invention of gunpowder originated somewhere in China or in the Middle East. The invention of gunpowder, also known as “The Devil’s Invention”, however, could be dated back to the early times, although its specific creators could not be determined. Same goes for the firearm and its inventor. Though, sources from the early thirteenth century, specifically Roger Bacon in his work Opus Teritus (also known as Opus Teritum) (Frankfort [1603]), suggest that gunpowder had originated somewhere during his time. A specific quotation from the work was translated into English and is read as follows:

“From the flaming and flashing of certain ingenious mixtures and the terror inspired by their nose, wonderful consequences ensue which no one can guard against or endure. As a simple example may be mentioned the noise and flame generated by the powder, known in divers places, composed of saltpetre, charcoal and sulphur. When a quantity of this powder, no bigger than a man’s finger, be wrapped up in a piece of parchment and ignited, it explodes with a blinding flash and a stunning noise…”

There is almost no doubt that the description is that of gunpowder. Along with this, Bacon also mentioned a formula, encoded in the form of an anagram, and when translated and read straight reads;

“But of saltpetre take 7 parts, 5 of young hazel twig and 5 of sulphur, and so thou wilt call up thunder and destruction if thou know the art.”

Using Bacon’s formula, the early composition of gunpowder was relatively inefficient. Gunpowder nowadays uses a different formula, compared to that stated above. The product of which is now known as “Serpentine” instead of the average term gunpowder. Using this table, we may be able to see the difference.

Bacon’s Formula (Serpentine): 41.2% Saltpetre
29.4% Charcoal
29.4% Sulphur

Today’s Formula (Gunpowder): 75% Saltpetre
15% Charcoal
10% Sulphur

With this new formula, the projectiles have been able to reach their full potential. In modern times, ammunition is no longer made by hand, but rather manufactured by machines, making the distribution of each ingredient more precise.

The modern day bullet compresses the gunpowder along with the projectile for a more efficient way of loading the firearm, a more efficient way of distributing the produce in large amounts, an efficient way of stabilizing the consistency of each bullet, and an efficient way of using the firearm. With the modern day style of bullet, came the first breech-loaders. Although the idea of placing the projectile along with the gunpowder to achieve very beneficial results was pretty old, the first few successful breech-loader firearms that used this style of ammunition came in the nineteenth century. Similar to the evolution of the firearm and gunpowder, this mechanism style has evolved through time and is now currently used, though in a more complex versions, by almost practically any firearm.

Such is the mechanism of both the M4 and the AK-47.

Eugene Stoner, the designer of the AR10 (Which is now modified and called the M16/M4), designed the rifle to be a light-weight alternative to the standard 7.62x5mm calibre rifles that were issued to the military. An example of such a weapon is the M14 (Modern version known as the M21) rifle; a semi-automatic rifle using a 7.62mm cartridge that was issued and is still in use by some military today (i.e. Philippines & U.S.A.). The M14 had a wooden frame and stock which made it relatively heavy, and it grew even heavier as the metal parts were installed. The firearm’s weight, with a full magazine (20 rounds) was 11.0 pounds. It was a rotating bolt, gas operated, air cooled, magazine fed, shoulder fired weapon.

The AR10 on the other hand, was a radical, new design during its time. It used plastics and aircraft aluminium for its frame which made it more than a pound lighter than the M14, and it was basically designed to be a “sturdier” and “maintenance free” weapon, while keeping the same standard calibre. The plastic parts did not splinter unlike the wood and neither did it warp. It was not favoured during its first few releases because there was too much carbon build up in the barrel which led to corrosion, and the use of “ball” gunpowder which the gun couldn’t really take. These technical difficulties came around during the early years of the Vietnam War. The known solution at the time was heavy maintenance and constant cleaning. This problem was solved, though, with the right gun powder, using chrome plated chambers to protect it and using the right lubricants, though the constant maintenance cleaning remained required. The magazines and receivers were made out of aluminium which was relatively weak. So, to compensate for this they gave it a hard coat anodizing which made the frame noticeably more durable. The AR10 was designed to be user friendly, thus there exists a safety switch, wherein the trigger could not be pulled accidentally. The magazine release and the cocking handle are also easily found and used.

With this, the military liked the overall aspects of the gun. They wanted a new version of this in fully automatic and in a lighter calibre which would make it easier to handle by the armed forces. They wanted this because they found out that most kills during previews wars were in close range; somewhere within 300 meters. They also found out in their research that the side that fired more rounds usually won the battle, thus their request for a fully automatic feature. Since the calibre of the gun would now be smaller, the average soldier could carry more ammunition than before.

While the SKS and the AK-47 were made in the 7.62 mm calibre, the AR15 was designed in the 5.66 mm calibre (Aka. the “.223 Remington”) as per the request of the military. The US air force took it in as their standard assault rifle and in the later years so did the other branches of the US military. It was later on dubbed as the M16, but to this day, not all AR15s are considered M16s. This was now the standard service rifle that replaced the M1 Carbine and M1 Garand of World War 2, and the M14 (M21).

Around the world, today, the AR15 design is being used and employed by many other nations, some made by Colt, FN, H&K, Bushmaster, and etc. Colt kept the trademarked AR15 name, originally given to it by ArmaLite, when they began selling the semi-automatic version of the rifle to local law enforcement and civilians. AR15 stands for the “Ar” in ArmaLite (model) 15. Many companies use a slight variation on the term on their actual rifles to set them apart yet keep the general idea. Examples of these are Bushmaster as the XM15, Rock River Arms as the LAR-15, Stag as the Stag-15, H&K as the H&K416/ another is the XM8 (which has a slightly different structure similar to that of their G36 Series), Fabrique Nationale as the FN SCAR (also having a slightly different structure), and etc, but they are still usually referred to as AR15’s by the general public. Although the vast majority of the AR15 tend to be chambered in 5.56 mm NATO, many other (Customized) versions of the AR15 are capable of using different calibres, such as: .22 in LR, 9mm, .204 in Ruger, 5.45×39 mm, .223 in Remington, 6.5 in. Grendel, 6.8 mm SPC, 7.62×39 mm, .450 in (Commonly known as the “Forty-Five”) Bushmaster, .458 in (AKA, the “Forty-Five”) SOCOM, .50 in Beowulf, .50 in BMG, and the original 7.62×59 mm.

The design of the AK-47 however, during its time, was quickly embraced, since it was simply a modified version of the German MP44 sub-machine gun, used during World War 2. Authors Hogg (1984) & Myatt (1987) claim that the Russians have been more efficient with the use of automatic weapons, especially since majority of the army were simply untrained for combat.

“The Russians understood the value of sheer volume of fire, particularly if it could be produced from simple weapons by not very highly trained troops, and in World War 2 they had armed whole battalions with sub- machine guns. These however suffered from serious limitations in range, but the Russians quickly saw that this disadvantage could be offset by the use of an assault rifle instead.”

Says Myatt (1987). Thus was the birth of the AK-47. Firearm designer Lieutenant General Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov (Russian: Михаи́л Тимофе́евич Кала́шников, Mihail Timofeevič Kalašnikov) (born November 10, 1919) designed the AK-47 as he was lying in a hospital, due to bullet injury after the battle of Bryansk. He then submitted his design as an entry to a gun designing contest. The firearms were to take the 7.62×39 mm cartridge that was just manufactured, and was claimed to not jam, even under different weather systems and terrain. The “Mikhtim” became Mikhail’s winning entry and was later modified to the AK-47 in 1947. (AK-47 is the acronym for Mikhail’s “Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947 Model”) Two years later, the firearm had become the Soviet Union’s standard issue firearm. Also user friendly, the AK-47 has a selector switch that allows the user to place the firearm on safe, this also is cleverly positioned to serve as a dust cover at the same time. The AK-47 has a generally high rate of fire, which allowed the Russians to use the technique they needed without the need for much training for the soldiers.

The AK-47 today is said to be the most widely known firearm all over the world. Used in majority of the communist countries, the AK-47 has become a major symbol for communism worldwide.

* This was a paper I made for school. Please be kind.
** This work spans 25 pages, and could be published as a book, so please again, don’t plagiarize.
*** Enjoy!

(c) Anachronic Works 2011